Three people have died as a result of a spike in meningitis cases in Ireland in the past two weeks.
The HSE is warning the public to be extra vigilant regarding meningococcal meningitis/septicaemia due to a rise in infections. Eleven cases were notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) since the last week in December. Three patients have died as a direct result of the disease.
Dr Suzanne Cotter, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre said: “If anyone has any concerns about meningitis they should ring their GP in the first instance. Meningitis and septicaemia often happen together and symptoms can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all.
“Early symptoms can include; fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, stomach cramps, fever with cold hands and feet and a rash, but do not wait for the rash to appear. If someone is ill and getting worse, get medical help immediately.
“Parents of children should also check that they are up-to-date regarding their childhood meningococcal vaccinations.”
Meningitis is a serious illness involving inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a variety of different germs, mainly bacterial and viruses.
The illness occurs most frequently in young children and adolescents, usually as isolated cases. Bacterial meningitis or septicaemia requires urgent antibiotic treatment.
The HSE reports that all age groups, from infants to elderly, have been affected in recent cases.